all this iran in the news

Just reading up on the situation–

The New Yorker interviewed Ahmadinejad and seemed to be perplexed at the things he was saying regarding Israel… sure, the Holocaust denial is irrational, but the rest I don’t think seems to be a huge breach of logic for Ahmadinejad given his position? He thinks that because what Israel has done to Palestine is unacceptable, that means he should be on the offensive against Israel. That seems no crazier than some of his other policies, for example banning gelled hairstyles for men and imprisoning his critics. I have to say, I don’t see why one of the things he suggests, holding a referendum on occupation in Israel and Palestine, would be so far-fetched… it may be impractical, but it’s not exactly a bad idea in theory. Anyway, besides that, the main thing I got from this article is the author’s (Jon Lee Anderson) feeling that Iran’s reformist Green Movement is dormant.

Al Jazeera reports that Iran is calling its newly unveiled unmanned bomber an “ambassador of death.”

The Atlantic is talking about the likelihood of Israeli strikes against Iran (July of next year) and trying to figure out what the US would do in response. While pointing out that letting Israel invade Iran without the necessity of US intervention would solve some problems for a lot of people, assuming Israel was successful, it also notes that “even Bush balked at attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, and discouraged the Israelis from carrying out the attack on their own.”

So it’s all, or mostly, still about Israel. It makes me think of what I concluded in 2003, when I was trying to figure out how the hell retaliation for September 11 was related to invading Iraq… For me the most logical answer ended up being this: The Israel-Palenstine issue has created too much underground heat and antipathy towards the US. We realized we needed a different ally in the Middle East besides Israel, and not Saudi Arabia, so set out to “create” one in Iraq.

But 8 years later, would we be ready to distance ourselves from Israel to the extent that we wouldn’t step in if they decided to attack Iran?

I am not sure why I feel so engaged with this topic. It’s just interesting to me.

One thing I can say is, I would prefer we were in a position where we did not have to get involved in more fighting. I suppose we would be expected to take sides even if we didn’t actually send help, and it sounds like the majority of the Middle East would want us to side against Iran anyway… they think it would be quicker and less nasty if we took care of it, and siding with US would give them an alternative to having to side with Iran. That’s nice of them, but it is oversimplifying things, not to mention overly optimistic. It would be unwise for us to step in unless they made clear that they really wanted us to. Countries besides Israel, I mean.

Obama is handling this situation the same way I would.

I met an Iranian dude at the gym in Belfast once… he approached me in the weight room all excited because I was wearing my “I ran into Tammy Faye at the Mall” t-shirt. He thought the shirt said “Iran.”

[update: Just read the Economist piece on Obama’s ushering of new peace talks between Israel and Palestine. It points out Israel’s motivation to make good with the US, given Iran’s threat to build a bomb, could influence them to give a bit more over to Palestine… http://econ.st/cG2IyP …So does that mean Ahmadinejad’s plan could be working? And if Israel agreed to progress in the peace talks, would that in turn slow down Ahmadinejad?]

Geography does play a pretty big role in all this…

from “the train of their departure”

And, with Polina sitting in his kitchen, it occurred to him that life, which he’d treated as a pastime, and which he’d thought he could yet outdistance, had finally caught up with him. And he discovered, much as he’d suspected, that once life caught up with you, you could never quite shake it again. It endeavored to hobble you with greater and greater frequency. How you managed to remain upright became your style, who you were.

From the short story “The Train of Their Departure” by David Bezmozgis, published in The New Yorker, August 9, 2010.
http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2010/08/09/100809fi_fiction_bezmozgis

engrish espanglish

list of words/frases I maintain in English while speaking español:

I wish
anyway(s)
magic eightball
dope
counterintuitive
hip-hop
r’n’b
what?!
nah-uh!
(un)fair
jerk
amazing
advertising
bass
spring break
pots/pans
slavery
by the way (btw)
instant messenger/messaging
internet (dicho con acento estadounidense)
whiskey tango foxtrot
deal
hang out

tbc…

But in general, sabes, normalmente son ideas inglesas de que me siento muy strongly o son ideas de que no se existen traducciones extactas.

Also, por suqueso hay palabras/frases también que digo en español aun mientras hablando en inglés…

the garbage man/mexico’s bitchin service sector

You know that trend in the US towards stuff like “clean-label” foods, word-of-mouth advertising, loco-whatever, de-surbanization, etc… basically the shift towards “authenticity and balance.” The post-industrial US consumer seeks to reclaim its pre-industrial wholesomeness.

Mexico, through its own ongoing joys and travails of industry, has kept this wholesomeness intact. The grocery store gives us an elegant demonstration: a quarter-kilo of fresh wheat berries is 3 pesos (25 cents); a box of Trix is 45 ($4.00). Crappy factory food is expensive here because it’s seen as a first-world luxury and includes the cost of the infrastructure that produced it. Meanwhile stuff we’re clamoring for in healthfood stores back in the States is priced in Mexico for what it is– plant products that grow abundantly and easily and are relatively labor-minimal, considering you don’t need to build machines or add painstakingly synthesized chemicals in order to process them.

So that’s a simple contrast that I guess NAFTA has enabled us to see in terms of goods. What about services? As a post-industrial society, the US has a really highly developed service sector. How does Mexico’s service sector compare?

Mexico’s stratified economy distributes demand for services a bit differently than our huge-middle-class economy in the US does. So instead of comparing the scope of the two countries’ sectors, the variety of services they supply, let’s look at how Mexico meets existing service demands. The demand for waste management, for example.

I took this picture at a mall where one of my offices is. Yes, I believe this means the bin is definitely still property of San Jose, California.

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panda bear

Normally I don’t go see too many indie bands, but this is pretty sweet. I really like the way these guys sound. I want it.

And the Polyforum is actually a theater, so the $350 (which includes extra charges) seems reasonable.